Kenyan pilau is a delicious spice-flavoured rice dish from East Africa. And today, we'll show you how to prepare this recipe in a quick and healthy way!
Also known as pilaf or pilav, pilau consists of rice simmered in a well-seasoned broth, sometimes with added meat and vegetables.
This simple yet intensely fragrant rice is a popular dish in many countries, each preparing it with its own distinctive style.
In the Kenyan version, pilau often uses cuts of meat like beef, chicken, or goat, which are also used to prepare the cooking stock.
Kenyan pilau seasoning includes a base of sauteed garlic, ginger, chillies, and chopped fresh tomatoes, plus warming spices like cinnamon, cardamom, clove, and cumin.
We made a few changes to the classic recipe, like replacing refined canola oil with minimally processed extra virgin olive oil.
We also swapped the classic white rice with wholegrain brown rice, which is higher in fibre, proteins, and minerals.
Finally, our Kenyan pilau recipe has no beef in it, so you won't have to spend time preparing the meat stock, and you'll keep the saturated fats low.
If you like, you can add a can of beans or lentils to the pilau rice for a source of protein. You'll find more pairing ideas below!
|Long-Grain Brown Rice||240 g|
|Extra Virgin Olive Oil||2 tbsp|
|Fresh Ginger Root (grated)||1 tbsp|
|Mild Red Chillies (serrano)||4|
|Ground Cumin||2 tsp|
|Ground Cloves||1/4 tsp|
|Ground Cardamom||1/2 tsp|
|Ground Cinnamon||1 tsp|
|Cracked Black Pepper||1/2 tsp|
|Vegetable Stock||680 mL|
|Chopped Parsley/Coriander||2 tbsp|
Rinse the rice and leave it to soak in a bowl of cold water for 20-30 minutes so it'll cook faster and more evenly.
In the meantime, heat the oil in a pan and add thinly chopped red onions.
Sizzle the onions for 8-10 minutes until soft and caramelised.
Add minced garlic, grated ginger root, and finely chopped red chillies and stir-fry all for 2 minutes until fragrant (1).
Next, tip in diced tomatoes and all the pilau spices—cumin, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, and black pepper (2).
Cook for 4 minutes until the tomatoes have softened and released their juices.
Now, pour in hot vegetable stock and stir in the soaked rice, after draining it well (1).
Cover, bring to a boil, and simmer the pilau for 20-25 minutes over medium heat (2).
The pilau is ready when the rice is cooked through and the liquids have fully reduced.
Fluff the pilau rice and stir in chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) or parsley (1).
Serve your vegan Kenyan pilau warm, paired with a cucumber side salad and beans if you like (2).
When the pilau is almost ready, you can tip a can of drained black beans or red kidney beans and cook for a few more minutes. Beans add plant-based proteins and extra nutrients for a more balanced meal.
Some African pilau recipes also include vegetables like potatoes, carrots, and bell peppers, so add them in if you like.
Pack any leftovers in an air-tight container and store them in the fridge for up to 3 days. To eat, quickly reheat the pilau in a skillet with a dash of oil.